Journal, Organization

Missing Keys

I’m not someone who loses his keys often, but it’s happened enough that I’ve decided to settle on one place to keep them. A hook in my kitchen, to be specific.

If I’m completely honest, I’d say that I like having a specific place for all my possessions. And this notion brings to mind a familiar saying of Benjamin Franklin: “A place for everything, everything in its place.” (Speaking of Franklin, he was an early influence on my writing.)

Whereas being tidy is essential, I believe there are other reasons to keep things in their place. Having a place for my keys, tools, or just a roll of masking tape, leads to efficiency in terms of putting these items to use. It might seem a little obsessive-compulsive, but for me, it’s more a type of situational awareness. The main difference is that I’m not aiming to survive an emergency.

Instead, I’m just trying to be a successful decision-maker. There are reasons I wouldn’t want to fail, right? And decision fatigue can happen, especially after a prolonged period of making decisions. This could be part of the reason we get so frustrated when we can’t find our keys. We decide they’re in our jacket pocket. Wrong. Then, we try the nightstand. Wrong again. Maybe they’re in our pants. And so on.

Finding your keys may not be an actual emergency, but when you’re running late to work, it definitely feels like one. And by the time you’ve checked all the likely spots and come up empty-handed, you’re exhausted. Not to mention even more late to work.

It’s better just to have a place for your stuff. It’s a lot easier–unless you want to make multiple copies of your keys and leave them everywhere you’re likely to look. That could work, but it seems like a lot more trouble than a hook.

photo: Chunlea Ju

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Justin Meckes is a writer and filmmaker living in Durham, NC. His stories have been published in various online journals and magazines. He has ghostwritten a sci-fi novel and is the author of several children's books. You can reach him by sending an email to contact@justinmeckes.com.